Monday, December 31, 2012

Thank You Note 2012

Inspired by my good bloggy-friend, Pat, of Corn in My Coffee Pot, I decided to share my top posts of 2012, as shown by number of readers' views.  (In other words, I'm copying her idea!)  I'm happy these posts have been of particular interest...

The first was a part of my series linked to Simple Mom's Project: Simplify 2012, a post showing the organization of our pantry:
Clutter Hotspot #2 - Pantry/Kitchen

The second was a redesign of our island.  Not only a cosmetic change, but for function in swapping the original doored cabinets for more drawers.  We also usurped some of the seating overhang for additional storage in:
Vive la Différence

The 3rd one was part of my series explaining the design and construction of our house, a 98% DIY project by our family, now all shared on this page:
Our (DIY'd) Home for 10

Also, like Pat, I'd like to recognize and thank the two blogs that pushed the most reading traffic my way:

I first met Laxsupermom on the Gardenweb Kitchen Forum, and she is not only responsible for sending a lot of clicks my way, but was one of the people who answered a lot of questions and gave valuable advice in setting up and continuing my blog.  She writes Sugar & Spice in the land of Balls & Sticks.  She seems to have taken quite a hiatus, I think to be more present in her family's life, which I really admire and applaud!

I met the following lovely lady when I was about five, and she was just newborn!  Jennifer writes Another journey....  
She is also a Christian homeschooling mom of many, sharing her challenges of momming and schooling her youngest boys, who are adoptees from China with separate challenges.  She also happens to be my cousin.  ;-)

Lastly, I want to express my appreciation to all who read and comment; it means so much to me, and the others on the ends of fun relationships I've formed here in BloggyLand.  There are so many blogs I read and enjoy, with authors I so respect.  And, thanks, also to those who link from my blog to Amazon to do your various shopping, helping out our family coffers... Mostly, helping add to our Home library!

Party healthily and wisely, but enjoy this last day and night of  

I can't believe another year has come and gone so quickly!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas at RHome410

First, our joyous, extended family party on Sunday:

And, today, our full enjoyment of Christmas with all of our ten... So all twelve of us under one roof, loving this special day together.  A special blessing on top of so many others:

Waiting on the stairs to go in to the tree

I want to clarify that Christmas is not about getting gifts for us.  We begin with prayer, recognizing and appreciating the birth of our Savior, and that all we have comes from God.

The kids get one "Santa gift" and one gift from Mom and Dad.  They love to get gifts for each other, and it's about knowing each other well enough to know what the recipients will love, even if it's from Goodwill.  And they do a great job!

It's such a great moment - a feeling of accomplishment and success - for the gift giver when the gift getter is excited and completely pleased with his or her surprise.  My only photos of those moments are, unfortunately, too dark and grainy to share.  --Yes, they're worse than some of those I'm already showing here!

It gets messy!

And the best gift of all for Mom and Dad... Hearing the laughter as all 10 sat around the table, playing a game together, and having a grand time!

I hoped I had captured all 10 in one shot, but never seemed to manage it.

I hope you're having a fantastic and blessed day with your loved ones.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

New floor!

Almost every time a member of the family walks into the kitchen, they say, "I love this floor!"  

I'm not sure if they love it that much more than the Marmoleum Click we had, or just more than the torn  up floor with disintegrating acoustic pad.  ;-)  (That story, and the options we were considering were discussed in Torn Between Two Covers)

It's the DevineLock plank vinyl tiles by DevineColor, in their Burr Oak color.  It seems solid, but comfy to stand on, and it also seems like it will hide a bit of everyday mess, be easy to clean, and according to our research, as well as the feel in person, be tough enough to wear well and keep looking nice over time.

It's lighter than I expected, since it appears that the sample we had was a section of the darkest shades.  But that's I think lighter than expected is probably better than darker.  I really have to paint our kitchen chairs now, though, as they look so blah, without any contrast to the lighter floor.

And it took a lot of the night, but I finally got our dining room from looking like this...

To this, to prepare for today's family Christmas celebration:

2 Days 'til Christmas!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Timing is Everything

Sometimes timing doesn't work out perfectly, but you just have to go with it.

Princess Bossy and Prince Helium arrived yesterday from their state far away... Yay!  On Sunday we'll be hosting a family Christmas celebration for approximately 27.  It's an event I very much look forward to, but have yet to prepare any food or baked goodies, and I still have gifts to sew.

But my dining room and kitchen currently look like this...

Complete with dogs' behinds...
and I'm too lazy tired to take & upload another shot of chaos

And this photo is too wide... but see lazy comment above

A bit of a disaster, to be sure, but it's a sign of good things to come, like, specifically, 
It goes in today, and I'm so excited to have that accomplished.  Not only am I eager to see how it looks, feels, and performs, but after having our the floor, plus baseboards, at different stages of "torn up" and piled in different areas of the house since September, I am SO looking forward to having my house put back together!  Hopefully, well before 2 PM on Sunday...  ;-)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Life Goes On and the Sun Comes Up Again

After crying off and on for sad reasons all weekend, and still not forgetting the continuing heartbreak of others, I have now been shedding a few tears of absolute joy.

I just found out I'll be getting a new brother-in-law!  Not that he'll seem new, since he and my baby sis have been together for a long time, and he's shown strong love and devotion to her and her children... and the rest of the family, especially in helping care for our parents, for several years.  We've already considered him a beloved part of the family.  But it's so exciting to look forward to their wedding, and I rejoice with them in this new step!!!!

Plus, now that Prince Steadfast and Princess Sassy have had a chance to tell everyone who needed a more personal announcement, I can tell you that Hubby and I will be grandparents this summer!  This new precious life is busy making Mama very tired and very nauseous.  But we've been able to peek in on him or her through ultrasound, and were thrilled to see a beating heart, waving arms, and kicking legs.  Princess Sassy thought the ultrasound image looks similar to a baby owl, and has called the baby "Little Hootie," for now, because of it.

"Little Hootie" at 9 weeks

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.

Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.                                       Psalm 127: 3-5

Loads of excitement!  We're rich with blessings!

Friday, December 14, 2012

In the Blink of an Eye

I got up this morning worried about running behind on Christmas projects, aggravated at whomever decided the school break shouldn't officially begin until Christmas Eve, so that regular, ol' hecticity is interfering with my Christmas joy, and a little frustrated at the condition of our home.

Then, in the midst of researching gifts I still need to buy and make, the email message came in from our local news station.  

27 dead in an elementary school in Connecticut, 18 of them children.  

The lump jumped to my throat and the tears rolled down my cheeks.  Prayers went up for the victims, families, responders, and all affected.  

There are parents who went to pick up their child, but he or she never came out of the building.  And there are those who lost a spouse, a daddy or mommy, and a grown son or daughter.  So much sadness.  

And there are those who loved the shooter and are now aghast, devastated, and maybe feeling helpless and guilty for not seeing, not knowing, not helping.  Such awfulness in this tragedy for so many.  

There are huge questions:

  • How does one get to the point where they can not only plan such a move, but can actually look a 5-year-old angel in the face and shoot him or her... and then do it 17 more times?!!!
  • HOW is there ANY comfort for those who lost a child to such a senseless act?  I trust God to provide their needs, but dissolve into tears just imagining the despair they must be feeling, and will for years to come.

Some of my kids are here where I can see them, and there are no shots ringing out at my kids' and husband's schools... They're all healthy, robust, and happy.  I can hold them close, unlike those who only wish they could, "Just one more time." My problems and aggravations immediately became ridiculous and microscopically small.  --In the blink of an eye.

Thank you, Lord, for the safety those who did make it out, and the relief for those parents who were blessed to see their child run out of the school into their arms.  Please hold tight to those, though, who feel so much loss and let them know You're with them each and every minute, and are welcoming their little angels into Your arms.  So much more that our hearts cry out, in not understanding things like this, that only You can know and decipher.   Thank you for the safety of my family and loved ones.
In Jesus' precious name, Amen.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bucket List, 2.0

As I've written before, I decided it was time to adjust my original Bucket List.  I thought I should sit down and take time, forming some thorough and very thoughtful goals.  I haven't had time, and was feeling badly about not getting it done.  But then realized, is that what a Bucket List is all about?  I think it was supposed to be a random list of things you hope to do before you die.  -Not that deep or overly complicated.  

So here are some of the things I think I might want to do in the rest of my life, some, hopefully, sooner than others!  Not in any particular order...
Photo source

Learn to play the cello. --I know that's not a cello pictured on the right.   I played the baritone horn in high school and part of college.  I loved the mellow, rich sound and hoped to own my own horn, which never happened.  I think the cello is the same type of sound, and it seems like it would be easier to make beautiful solo music with that more than with a horn. --Although, the horn's required breathing would be good for me, so could be a 'win-win.'  I still like the idea of drawing across the strings and having the cello ooze some cool and elegant, classical melody.  Seems a little classier choice for a "woman of a certain age," who is long removed from sitting in the pep band at football games.

Photo source
See picturesque parts of New England with Hubby.  And maybe other parts of the country, too, especially where our kids might live.  But I don't want to rush around, doing touristy things and visiting too many places in a short time... Just see, walk, enjoy, and relax, appreciating the views and environment in one place at a time.

Take a course in furniture-making or concrete artistry.  Other course possibilities: ceramics, stained glass, cooking or baking

Build a business with Hubby and/or one or more of the royal offspring...using creativity and handcrafting/manual skills.

Visit kitchens I've helped design... and mostly, and finally, meet their owners, of course!

And besides, Facebook told me this!  ;-)

Take up bike riding... Just local and flat-to-rolling terrain.  Nothing too difficult... strenuous... ambitious.  (Finding a route without major hills will be the biggest challenge around here!)  I don't see myself racing, or going long distances, but getting fit and, also, some fresh air.

Grow veggies and fruit enough to supply a good part of our food needs.

Learn to can those fruits and veggies... and do it!

Sew, sew, sew.  Quilts, babies'/kids' clothes for future grandchildren and families in need, my clothes, home decor.  Keep Hubby in fun shirts.

From Shape Magazine
 Arm-Toning article

Get "buff." I've always wanted sculpted arms and strong legs (and behind).  Maybe a little over-ambitious (and shallow) for someone at 52... who has no exercise routine, and who specifies she doesn't want to work too hard when she rides her bike!  But, hey, these are hopes and dreams, right?

Read the Bible from beginning to end.  And then maybe start over again...

Learn Spanish with my kids.

Post Scripture around our house in some attractive, classy way.                                                                                                                          
Just a couple of the beautiful examples from
Decorating our Home in Scripture
on Blessed Femininity 

Open our home.  Invite more friends over, more often. Host more events.

...and as a daily focus, 
Take seriously the prayer I've posted on my bathroom mirror:

LORD, please help me to reflect the light of Christ in our home. Please guide my steps, direct my activities, and give me words. Help me know and demonstrate Your priorities.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bucket List... During

I came to the realization that I was making my new Bucket List into something more like New Year's Resolutions... A somewhat oppressive list of things I should accomplish, instead of things I want or hope to do.

This has given me a new outlook on this task.  I'm going to try to leave personal discipline issues out of it, and make it more positive... and more FUN!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bucket List, "Before"

To 'celebrate' my 2 years of blogging, I thought I'd return to my very first post and redo my "Bucket List."  Before I revamp and make a new one, I thought I should take time to review the original.  There have been a few checks () added as I accomplished a goal...very few, but I do celebrate those.  I have added comments, where appropriate:

1)      Kitchen:
a.       Make a sourdough starter and sourdough breads - I love Sourdough bread, but still have not been motivated enough to try my own.  Our pizza dough gets close, since I leave a little every time I make a new batch.  If it sits 2 weeks, the family seems to love it even more, and recognizes the sourdough type of flavor.

b.     Make my own yogurt - I'm so glad I did this.  I really love it after it's been drained, and my go-to, healthy breakfast is our homemade Greek yogurt with roasted almonds, unsweetened coconut, and a squirt of Blue Agave nectar.

c.       Make fresh pastas - Still think I might like to make fresh ravioli from scratch.  We'll see.

d.     Create more veggie-rich meals, including work lunches for DH

2)      Sewing:
a.       Machine Embroidery…I have the machine and I should use it!
b.      Sew for the local crisis pregnancy organization
c.       Sew for myself and the kids again…Make a duct tape body form? - I REALLY want to do this.  But I think I might have to wait until our young marrieds get into their own space, and my sewing room is no longer their laundry/office/storage area.

3)      Gardening
a.       Study greenhouse gardening…Get the greenhouse fixed, finished, and working for us
b.      Learn succession gardening
c.       Learn all-season gardening
d.      Establish and plant berry gardens

4)      Yard
a.       Create flower beds around the front porch, and eventually redirect the driveway - The building of the garage addition will actually force some of this to happen, and in those same plans, I should get a bigger veggie garden area with better exposure.  It'll happen!

b.      Remove sod, and put gravel around the garden boxes

5)      Woodworking - Maybe in the new garage's shop area!
a.       Butcher block cutting boards
b.      Tables and work islands
c.       Start business?

      6)      Raise chickens…?  We’ll see…-   Still on the radar, but a ways down the list.

7)      Art and Crafts - Doesn't seem to be happening!
a.       Learn to knit
b.      Keep a sketch diary
c.       Refresh my painting skills

8)      House
a.       ✓ Create our ‘library’
b.      Design a pet area, including a contraption to keep the dogs out of the cat food, or we’ll need a doggie treadmill (Rosie is already almost rolling down the stairs in the morning.) - We put the cat food on the sewing counter (not the best solution), which did help Rosie regain her proper weight range.  But I hope for a better set-up in the new enclosed breezeway between the house and garage.

       9)      Homeschooling - There have been big changes in our approach this year, with         still more adjustments needed.  Definitely a subject for the new list.
a.       More writing!
b.      Expand the great new math program (Teaching Textbooks) used for grade 7 and Algebra this year for all the kids at all levels
c.       More reading!
d.      History timelines
e.      Have a ‘project component,’ so there are always ongoing projects underway for each child

       10)  Self-Improvement - SO LITTLE progress here.  Need to rethink and refocus.
a.       Daily devotions/Bible
b.      Daily exercise…Oh, ok…
c.       READ…Quit returning books to the library only partially read.
d.      Periodic dates with DH…The Love Dare?

11) Write blog entries that don't take 2 days to post, and 2 days to read! - Instead of becoming more productive, I've cut back.  I think that was the better approach for my family and my priorities.  

Now, no more looking back, or feeling badly about what I didn't do... But, instead, taking steps everyday, forward toward new experiences and a renewed set of goals.

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